“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
We recently took a trip a couple hours away from our home for a few days to get away. Part of us preparing to leave was getting all of the leftovers cleaned out of the fridge. We were both raised to believe that wasting food was shameful and should be avoided. God has blessed us with food while others in the world go hungry, so what right do we have to waste it? During this fridge cleanup, we found some sour cream in the back of the top shelf that had apparently been there awhile. We love to put sour cream on a few dishes we make, but it’s not stuff that we eat every week. Being that the Sour Cream made its way to the back of the top shelf, it was easily missed for quite some time. The expiration date had come and gone, but I just had to have a look and popped the lid off. The spectrum of greens, blues, and grays on top of the sour cream was pretty impressive. It had molded pretty badly, so we pitched it. It occurred to me that there was a lesson to be learned here when it came to our marriage so the molding of a little bit of sour cream wasn’t a total loss.
Too many times, we take the sour things in our relationships… disagreements, arguments, extended family & in-law influences, money decisions, spiritual divides, plans for the future, etc… and we put them in a little container and we put them on the top shelf of our life’s “refrigerator” until we have to get them back out again. If you deal with it quickly it won’t be toxic when you inevitably have to swallow it and deal with it. The problem is, most of the time these things stay on that shelf until they look like the sour cream we pitched. When it comes to problems in a marriage we have learned there are only 2 kinds. Problems that get you both and divide you, and problems that surround you and push you together. Our perspectives, attitudes, and choices 99% of the time determine which kind of problem it becomes. Choosing to lay the blame for any of these problems at the feet of your spouse is a losing game and makes the problem one that comes between you both. If your spouse caused the particular issue in your eyes, you have to be open and honest about what you see but that cannot be the focus. 2 people lost in the woods won’t make it home alive if they spend all day arguing about how they got lost in the first place, they’ll just die angry. If you use the problem to beat your spouse (figuratively), it’ll drive a wedge into your marriage that Satan will pound on until it splits like a log ready to be seasoned for the fire. However, if you take the problems you face and you talk about them openly, honestly and without blame or unnecessary anger, progress can be made. The heat of the problems can bring you closer and create intimacy, trust, understanding, and respect that weren’t there before. We pray that anyone reading this takes the first step in starting to clean out their life’s “fridge” of problems that are starting to mold or have completely rotted. Don’t let these problems go another day because God did not intend for marriages to have an expiration date.